Choosing the “Per-Debtor” Approach to Plan Confirmation in Multi-Debtor Chapter 11 Proceedings

Brindise, Suzanne T. | July 1, 2014

Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code sets forth the procedures necessary for corporations to reorganize. To ensure that the bankruptcy process and proposed reorganization plan are fair, Chapter 11 mandates that certain requirements are met before confirmation of a reorganization plan can be achieved. Section 1129(a)(10) represents one of those requirements. Specifically, § 1129(a)(10) requires at least one impaired class of claims to vote in favor of the reorganization plan in order for it to be confirmed. Applying § 1129(a)(10) is relatively simple in bankruptcy proceedings involving a single debtor; however, its application is much more complicated in bankruptcy proceedings involving multiple debtors. As multi-debtor bankruptcy proceedings have become increasingly common, courts have begun to debate whether § 1129(a)(10) requires an impaired class from each debtor to vote in favor of a proposed reorganization plan in a jointly administered, multi-debtor Chapter 11 proceeding, or whether it requires only one impaired class from across all debtors to vote in favor of it. The former option is known as the “per-debtor” approach, and the latter as the “per-plan” approach. This Comment argues for the adoption of the per-debtor approach. In particular, it urges that the per-debtor approach more accurately aligns with the plain meaning and statutory construction of Chapter 11, more closely follows the purpose and underlying safeguards at work within the Bankruptcy Code, and better serves the interests and rights of the parties involved.